“They have all arrived safely in Lourdes! The Frat can begin”. Ten thousand secondary-school students have come on 166 coaches and two special trains from the Ile-de-France to live, from today to Sunday April 22nd, the “Frat”, a pilgrimage wanted and run by the eight bishops of the Ile’s diocese and organised by the association Fraternel. It is a tradition that has been going on in France since 1908. In odd years, it is the 13-15-year-olds who meet in Jambville, while on even years it is the 15-18-year-olds who meet in the Marian city. They celebrate, they talk, they pray in silence, they listen to stories, they party. This year, the underlying theme will be the Synod on Young People, which will be addressed in workgroups to “come out with ideas that will be sent to the Pope as a contribution for the Synod”, the programme says. About ten young people, who are engaged in a walk of faith and commitment in the Church and in society, will tell their stories.
The Frat may be attended by youth groups (parish groups, chaplaincies, movements, communities …), with a leader, an entertainer and a priest, but not by “boys and girls on their own”, because the idea is “to bring young people who live in their community all through the year to an ecclesial meeting”. The celebrations, which are the day’s highlight, are streamed live on the event’s website (https://frat.org).